In honor of this week's launch of Lunchtime Music on the Mall, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), when Congress returns from recess next week, will introduce the National Mall Revitalization and Designation Act, to require the Secretary of the Interior to submit a plan to Congress within 180 days to enhance visitor enjoyment, amenities and cultural experiences on, and in the vicinity of, the Mall, and to authorize the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) to expand the boundaries of the Mall where commemorative works may be located to relieve pressure on the central Mall. Norton worked closely with NCPC and other agencies in drafting the National Mall Revitalization and Designation Act to give NCPC the responsibility and necessary flexibility to designate Mall areas for commemorative works and to expand the Mall area for these purposes when appropriate. In 2003, Norton was a leader in getting Congress to amend the Commemorative Works Act to create a reserve area on the Mall where new memorials may not be built. This action was helpful in slowing some of the demand from groups for placement of commemorative works on the central Mall, but the Norton bill meets a continuing need to empower NCPC to designate expansion of the Mall area as envisioned by NCPC. Recognizing the need for more commemorative work sites, NCPC and the Commission on Fine Arts released a National Capital Framework Plan in 2009, which identifies sites near the Mall that are suitable for new commemorative works, including East Potomac Park, the Kennedy Center Plaza, and the new South Capitol gateway. Five new prestigious memorials are scheduled for such sites, including the Eisenhower Memorial and the U.S. Air Force Memorial. Norton's bill gives NCPC authority to expand the boundaries of the Mall where commemorative works can be located.
Norton acknowledged the progress being made by the Trust for the National Mall, which plans a total remake of the Mall, but said there are low-cost changes that should be made now. Norton said, "Until the Trust for the National Mall was established in 2007, the National Mall was Washington's most neglected and underutilized federal property, despite being well-known and treasured. The Trust is already making a noteworthy and important difference and its plan will give the Mall the majesty it deserves. In the meantime, there is much that can be done, from defining the Mall's official identity for the first time to low-cost basic amenities."
In the second performance in this week's kick-off of Lunchtime Music on the Mall, a capella group Delight will perform today, Thursday, May 29, 2013, from noon to 1:00 p.m. on the Madison Dr. SW area of the National Mall, between 4th St. and 7th St., directly across from the steps of the National Gallery of Art. Lunchtime Music on the Mall, sponsored by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and the National Park Service (NPS), in conjunction with Norton, will bring musical acts to the Mall every Tuesday and Thursday during the good weather months. Yesterday, Norton announced she would also introduce a resolution honoring Lunchtime Music, its sponsors and the musical performers who participate on the Mall when Congress returns from recess.